Wednesday, 11 November 2015

No stirrup november = no trotting thanks

So it's November. We all know what that means.
Now I am not doing the whole month of November with no stirrups, no way, not happening, I do not have the riding ability for that thanks. However I have committed to trying no stirrups for part of each ride (hacking does not count if that happens this month).
So today was my first proper ride of the month (wow I need to get back on track with riding more!) and also my first proper ride in my new saddle! Applogies for the fact that I forgot to take a picture of him in the saddle beforehand and then after he was all sweaty so no photo then either. I'll try next time!
He was pretty wound up while I was grooming him ready today, it was windy and Ron was shouting him from the field and people were yelling at cows so it was a pretty busy environment but I just figured that meant he'd be nice and forward and I wouldn't need a whip!
Anyway when I got on him he was his usual chilled self and any extra forward I thought we may have achieved was not immediately there. No matter, I did some work on transitions, specifically trot/halt and he quickly upped his game. Our main focus for today was canter transitions and getting them sharpened up. We've pretty much got him getting the right leg (I'd say 98% of the time so I'll take that) so it was time to make them more seamless and sharp. So for that it was a case of doing lots of them! I didn't want to make it too complicated for him so we started with 10 strides canter, 10 trot and so on and gradually lessened it until we were working with about 5 strides of trot in between transitions. He was really good with this and it really helped to get him in front of my leg and thinking about what was coming next. We did this a few times on both reins before having a nice trot break to let him process that. Then I did about 10 minutes of no stirrup in all gaits. I like walking stirrupless, I like cantering no stirrupless. Trotting no stirrupless is the work of the devil. I am going to recruit Beth and Lottie to make sure I do that because it is not something I see myself doing voluntarily without anyone watching if I can at all avoid it. Eurgh, I suck at it.
After that was just a nice walk and trot (with my stirrups back thanks) cool down and a good groom to get all the sweat off!
The new saddle is SUPER comfy (I had a memory foam seat added since I was going custom) and seemed to work well for both of us. I was able to get my leg into a better position and Sunny seemed comfortable, nice and stretchy with even sweat patches after so I'm calling it a win so far.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

My precious!

It's here! It's finally here!!!

Please excuse my breeches drying in the background and failed attempts at getting a picture of the name plate.
My saddle is here! I got it this morning (straight from a night shift, can we take a moment to talk about commitment) and it seems to fit perfectly! Its super comfy, I had a memory foam seat put in when I ordered it because why the hell not? Didn't get much of a ride in it because it was raining lots but we had a little walk and trot up the lane and it seems perfect. I just need it to not rain so much next week now so I can have some proper rides in this baby!
(If you're interested, it's an Ideal 1350GP)

Friday, 6 November 2015

#heelsdownchallenge November '15

So I recently started reading heels down magazine, which is an online magazine you can download onto your phone/tablet. They do a heels down challenge every month and I've seen them a lot on youtube and instagran so I thought why not on a blog. They basically ask a question which you answer on a social media post with the hashtag as in the title of this post. I thought it looked fun so I'm giving it a go this month. So the question this month is:

What is your favourite and least favourite barn chore?
For my favourite I would have to say tack room tidying. I spend love a neat and tidy tack room so I'm forever putting things away and finding the best place to put everything. 
Least favourite is dealing with frozen water troughs and buckets in winter. Just. No.

Join in folks, post on your own blog telling us your answer!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Remembering contact

Finally got a ride in on the pony yesterday after over a week off. He had a little moment at the beginning where he was all 'no remember my bit was too tight so owww no contact' but soon got over himself and worked beautifully. Transitions were good, contact was good, stretching was good. Overall he just did some lovely work. He obviously worked hard because by the end pony was a sweaty, sweaty beast! It wasn't s around the saddle pad though, it was around his shoulders and girth area. Never before have I actually used a sweat scraper for sweat, normally just for water. But I sweat scraped him and it dripped off him. I tried to give him some electrolytes after to make up for it but he wasn't interested, all he wanted was to roll lol.
Tired sweaty pony is tired and sweaty

Even his brain was sweating

Not the most attractive he's ever looked

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Some stuff we did

Last Monday I schooled Sunny. He was still being sassy and head tossy but Beth noticed that his bit seemed to be a bit tight. I let someone borrow my bridle (before the 3 rides of sassy head tossy pony shockingly) and it turns out she raised the bit and forgot to lower it again, so it was pinching poor pony's mouth. He did improve vastly after it was lowered but was still a bit resistant since I'm sure he still anticipated the pinching. I've not managed to get a ride in since but I'll ride tomorrow and hopefully he'll be better about the contact again.

On Tuesday the oldest daughter at the farm and I went out for a nice long hack. She took her pony and I was lucky enough to borrow Sparkie. We had an absolute whale of a time, the ponies got on really well with each other and were happy to canter alongside each other sensibly. We also went for a nice gallop through one of the bigger fields which was a ton of fun.

Still waiting to be able to share pictures of the thing I'm sure you've guessed about, it's taking longer than I anticipated (and was told it would) so I'm not too pleased about that but hopefully soon!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Jumping some gingers

It's been a busy weekend of riding and I'm proud to say I'm not achy after riding 3 days in a row, yes for improving fitness woo!
Friday I had another lesson from dear Lottie on Sunny. Sassy pony is getting sassy about being asked to work into the contact after a couple of lessons of letting that go to allow work on bending. He needed a firm reminder that yes, I know I have some contact but yes, I still want you to work forward into your bridle properly thanks pony. Transitions were good though, I just need to remember that he needs a reminder of all the things each time we ride so he doesn't think we've moved onto new things so can forget the old.
Friday afternoon we all went up to play with Lottie's ponies. I had a play on John which was super fun. He's come on so much this year it's very fun to see his progression. Lottie and Beth both rode Star who was also fab.

Yesterday we played with Beth's ponies. We both had a go at jumping with Sparkie which is legit the most fun thing ever. Every time. Then Beth played with Jack who absolutely slayed his first jump session in about 2 months.

Then today we took Beth's boys on a hack which was super fun, I haven't hacked for so long it was nice to get out again.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Actual photos!

Yes, I actually got some visual proof that I rode my pony yesterday!
It wasn't the best ride we've had recently, Sunny was pretty distracted by some cow herding and very lazy and just all around didn't want to be there.  Still, it wasn't horrible, the bend was still there, we didn't drift and we still had transitions so I can't complain too much, it just wasn't a particularly awe inspiring ride. That's ok though, everyone has days where they're just not feeling it and yesterday was one of those for pony, next time will be better.

In more interesting news though, something exciting will be happening within the next fortnight.....I'll just leave this here as a little (big) clue....